I’m not a huge Star Wars fan, but I love the challenge of painting or sketching something for May the Fourth Be With You day each year, and seeing the progress in my art.
This year I surprised myself with this sketch, and I can honestly say I have NEVER sketched C-3PO or R2-D2 before – and they’re busy characters! That’s the main reason I decided to sketch upside down – so that I was only looking at the shapes and not letting my mind get in the way by thinking of arms and legs, etc. I really recommend having a go at drawing this way!
What’s better than one #mooloolabasurfclub ? FOUR.
The first was sketched on our first morning at the beach (fun),
the second from a photo that night (a bit staid),
the third on the beach (while my students may have been taking bets on how long it would take me to finish it – 17 minutes), and
the fourth from a photo as a demonstration painting in our main room with (mildly) spherical perspective and only four paint colours.
There’s so much to be said for painting a subject multiple times – and if it’s a subject you love, that’s even better.
Danny Gregory of #artb4bkfst says, “Warhol’s Law: if one drawing of a thing looks okay, ten look AWESOME.”
And I think I’m done now.
- You get to explore a topic, or an art supply, with purpose.
- You create an impressive body of work.
- You have the opportunity to see your skills improve between artwork 1 and Artwork 8 (or 12 or 20 or 31 or 54 or 100)
- You can take a photo of your collection and FEEL THE FEELS of a joyous job well done.
I started deliberately painting/sketching themed collections last May (remember #5minutemay
?) and haven’t looked back. Last month it was #shaaustralia
and right now it’s all about #shabridgerton
I’ve settled on a goal of 12 pages/artworks/whatever each month (because 31 was an uncomfortable stretch!) and it’s all systems go.
What subjects are you interested in? Is there an art collection project in that? How much time do you have? How many would feel comfortable for you?
Remember that one sketch or painting is one thing, but boy, a collection FEELS AWESOME.
Just pick up a brush or pencil and let’s go!
I’ve had five Zoom calls with lovely Shiny Happy Art Club Members this week, and I found myself recommending SAMPLERS a few times.
These two are on Scrap Book Covers (I use them for planning) from 2017 and 2018.
The thing with Samplers is:
– you get to practice colour mixing
– you learn about your own art supplies (whether you have a little or a lot)
– you have a ‘go to resource’ when you’re wondering how to start mixing a colour
– if you fill a page with marks like this it looks impressive! You’ll feel like an artist!
I have only become a convert to Samplers in the past 5 years but now – I just love them. I do them for every art supply I have. It’s time well spent.
So I encourage you to make time for a Sampler this weekend. Do at least a page (or a book cover!).
If you’re a neat person, rule some lines. If you’re not (like me) just go for it. Mark your colours across the top of the page, and down the left hand side (label them) and then get mixing your grid of colour.
How do you fit a long house in a square format? I decided to focus on the front door and attempt to capture the pure FUN of this home.
This secret commission was a true exercise in ‘creative decision making’ and such a joy to paint I actually had a few goes at it, getting more familiar with the building each time.
Of interest might be the prepping of the watercolour paper with Gum Arabic ‘dust’. Gum Arabic is made from the sap of the Acacia Tree and is used as a binder in quality watercolours. This little jar, complete with tissue, was given to me as part of Olive Bull’s calligraphy lessons about… ohhh… 22 years ago! (See – ‘art supplies ARE heirloom items’!) Back then I used the tissue to rub the Gum Arabic dust onto the surface of the paper I was about to write on – to prevent bleed.
I knew I wanted some hard edges in this painting so I pulled out the jar and prepped the paper and it DEFINITELY made a difference.
Gum Arabic can also be bought as a liquid and used to thicken ink for calligraphy (and thicken food colouring, interestingly!). It can be used as a bonding agent for gouache or powder pigments (so that the ink doesn’t wipe away after the water evaporates). It can also decrease cracking in some thick inks.
So there you go! You can thank me when you win the prize at the next (online) trivia night!